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Australians consumed 2.1kg less paper over the last year

Australia’s per capita consumption of paper and paperboard fell 1.6% over 2017-18, with average consumption declining to a total of 129.3 kg, according to the latest analysis by IndustryEdge. Source: IndustryEdge for Timberbiz

The decline in Australia’s total per capita consumption was softened by rising domestic consumption of Packaging & Industrial (P&I) paper and paperboard, as well as an evident rise in consumption of Tissue and Tissue Products.

Not surprisingly, consumption of Newsprint and Printing & Communication (P&C) papers declined.

Although Newsprint may be the significant story, per capita Printing & Communication paper consumption fell 5.9% to just 40.3 kg/head, slightly faster than the average decline of 5.6% per annum over the decade.

The chart does not do justice to growth in per capita utilization of Tissue and Tissue Products. At 13.0 kg/person, the apparent consumption rose 4.5% compared with the prior year and is heading towards the top of global per capita consumption.

There is every possibility that inventory effects have infected this particular data. It only takes a few thousand tonnes of supply (local production or imports) for the population based consumption data to be skewed by more than one kilogram per person.

Despite this, there is little doubt that individual consumption of Tissue and Tissue Products is growing in Australia, especially because of ‘Away From Home’ utilization in an increasingly café society, as we have commented previously.

Finally, it is probably evident that Packaging & Industrial paper and paperboard grades – like corrugated boxes and cartons – are on the whole not consumed at the household level (though that is changing). Thus, per capita analysis is little more than useful as a comparative measure. Per capita consumption growth of 4.2% fed through to consumption of 69.4 kg/head in 2017-18.

The pie chart below shows each of the grades and their proportions of total consumption in 2017-18.

In the per capita consumption data, we can see the changing patterns of how Australian’s use different products. The emphasis on Packaging & Industrial papers and tissue grades is holding consumption up, while the grades of paper used for communications are dwindling.

Every month, IndustryEdge publishes Wood Market Edge, Australia’s only forestry and wood products market and trade analysis, and supplies its customers with hundreds of unique data products, advisory and consulting services.

This analysis was first published in the firm’s monthly market intelligence publication, Pulp & Paper Edge.

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